On May 30, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:New York might not seem like a kid-friendly city, and granted, there are plenty of places not to take your child, especially the younger ones; however, it’s not impossible to find a restaurant that caters to kids, especially the budding foodie. My first choice, Mira Sushi & Izakaya, where they serve a plethora of fun, innovative Japanese eats including tangy Kyoto Crunchy Sloppy Joes, crisp wanton tacos with beef bulgogi, and bi bim bap, which is great for its simplicity. Also, if your kids are sushi fans, they offer some fun rolls like the Magic Dragon with tempura shrimp, eel, and avocado.
Another decidedly kid-friendly place is Alice’s Tea Cup, which has three locations. Here, you can get delicious adult fair like the croque monsieur, and then for your child, get the grilled cheese. You can also order peanut butter and jam sandwiches, cookies with milk, and even a small pot of herbal tea and a scone, so you child can have teatime with you.
Next on the list, bring your daughter and her doll to the American Girl Cafe in Midtown, where, you guessed it, they have seating for both the humans and the toy. Of course, only one actually gets to eat, and there they make it extra exciting by offering meals like the interactive tic-tac-toe pizza, and the picnic lunch, which has a tiny hamburger, mini hot dog, macaroni and cheese, and some fruit for good measure. Just make sure you book ahead, for little girls, this is the place to be.
For a funkier sort of dining experience, try Yaffa Café in the East Village. This Mediterranean-esq restaurant features zebra-print booths, bizarre artwork, and a large backyard. Also on the fun side is Cowgirl Hall of Fame in the West Village. Not only is the décor entertaining to look at, but also they have a great kid’s menu with items like Frito pie and pulled pork sandwiches. On that note, you could also take your tots to Blue Smoke, a barbecue joint in Gramercy that serves good food, and has plenty of space to accommodate kids.
On May 28, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:Hey guys, celebrities are just like us, only with more money, fame, and usually, a personal bodyguard. That’s the nice thing about New York though, most of the time you see famous people just doing that little thing called life. You know, like walking down the street in Chelsea, Ethan Hawke, or chatting with your girlfriend in front of ABC Carpet and Home, Parker Posey. Heck, years ago when I managed a coffee shop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, I served Keri Russell and Rosie Perez, both residents of the neighborhood at the time.
Now, while these sightings are random, there are some places to go that celebs frequent, like Graydon Carter's Beatrice Inn, a neo-speakeasy in the West Village that fashion maven Diane Von Furstenberg and indie film darling Chloë Sevigny have been known to pop into. You could also stalk famous people at Nobu, an upscale sushi joint in Greenwich Village that has served pop icons including Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and Cameron Diaz (you know, back when they were dating).
For a more covert celebrity sighting, head to Stanton Social, a swank Lower East Side restaurant run by chef Chris Santos. I am not 100-percent sure who has come through those doors, but I know it’s a lot and they like to keep them on the down low, meaning no paparazzi allowed. Cameras also remain still at the Waverly Inn and Garden, where clientele have included Gwenyth Paltrow, Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey, and Lindsay Lohan.
Of course, another way for sighting celebrities is by hitting hot hotels, where often they are staying if they don’t live in New York. Good bets include the Standard Hotel off of High Line Park in Flatiron, the Mercer Hotel in SoHo, and the ritzy Mandarin Oriental in Midtown.
On May 27, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:It’s no secret, there are plenty of great hotels in New York. However, if you are looking for something smaller and special, and maybe with an artistic bent, perhaps one of the chic boutique hotels are for you. Here are three that really stand out, and yes, two of them feature restaurants by top British chef April Bloomfield, but hey, the woman knows how make food sing, and that’s reason enough.
The Pod 39 Hotel: Even though my favorite part about this spot is Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco joint downstairs, there are many other reasons to stay in this Midtown hotel. First, the rooms are small, clean, and simple, with an “away at camp” sort of vibe, which is in part because they offer bunk beds as well as full, queens, and kings. This doesn’t mean the “pods” don’t have an air of luxury to them, more, a modern and youthful approach. If you are seeking more space, head to their “Play Room,” an area that sports a giant Moroccan-tiled fireplace, vintage couches, ping pong tables, and a bar. They have another bar on the roof, and it’s darling with romantic arches, bright tiled tables, and strings of lights illuminating the outdoors. Come this summer, it will be the perfect place to sit with a cocktail, and maybe a taco, and watch the sun set.
The Jade Hotel: Located in Greenwich Village, this Art Deco-styled hotel is great option for those looking to stay in the crux of New York culture. They have 113 rooms to choose from, including the Hudson Queen Suite that features a private outdoor patio with views of their blooming garden. For those without the veranda, there is plenty to enjoy, like the lamp-lit sunken lobby, New York-themed library, and their speakeasy-styled Grape and Vine restaurant. Plus, as soon as you leave, you can find New York bustling, right outside the door.
The Ace Hotel: The reputation of this NoMad boutique hotel speaks to the stylish traveler, after all, each of their 269 rooms feels like you just stepped into a well curated New York City apartment inhabited by a musician perhaps, or independent film maker. Heck, you can even check out the loft spaces, complete with a guitar in the corner and fully stocked mini bar, and really make believe you live in this glorious city. Another perk of staying at the Ace? Well, the lobby is a library-like public space with large, leather couches and wooden tables that bring all sorts of characters to perch, study, and sip Stumptown coffee. For food, you can head to April Bloomfield’s famous restaurant The Breslin, or go for fresh oysters and great cocktails at The John Dory Oyster Bar.
On May 23, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:One of the best places in the world to buy clothes is in New York City, and here, we have hundreds of small, medium, and large boutique clothing stores to choose from. A lot of these places prove really good, depending on your style, sex, age, and so on. With that, since I am a young professional woman, here are three boutique-clothing stores that are I think are worth the visit.
Blessed Peacemakers: With a bohemian vibe, a Moroccan-themed décor (all for sale), and clothes and accessories curated by Yumi Kim designer Kim Phan, this shop exudes an exotic feel right in the heart of the Lower East Side. It’s not pretentious or fancy, but that doesn’t mean the goods aren’t on the high-end side. You can pick up frocks by Champagne and Strawberries, shoes by Dolce Vita, and soon, a house-brand label by Yumi Kim.
Legacy: If you are looking for something old, something new, and everything stylish, check out the clothes Rita Brookoff has curated at her shop in SoHo. Here you can find vintage Bill Blass and Hermes dresses, and new creations Brookoff has made using antique fabrics. It’s a unique place to get that outfit that no one at the party could possibly have, and since she makes the pieces to order, you know it will fit like a glove.
Dalaga: When this sleek boutique opened in 2006, sister-owners Mary and Michelle Mangiliman brought stylish, yet utilitarian threads to their Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn. That means it’s easy to find a light cotton frock by Lace Trails, or an airy skirt by Ark & Co. They also sell jewelry, bath products and accessories, so you can truly deck yourself out Brooklyn style, ala Girl’s.
On May 22, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:Summer in New York City means live music galore. You can hear plenty of buskers on the subway and in the street, catch big and small name bands free in parks and on piers, or pay top dollar to see some of the hottest shows this season. Of the 100-plus concerts going on, here are the five I am the most excited about.
She & Him: Head to Summer Stage Main Stage on July 6 to check out what darling duo Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have been working on and hear the latest off their third album, Volume 3. Tickets are only $40, and what better way to bop around to Deschanel’s tinkling voice than outside, in a park, on a summer’s night.
fun. and Tegan and Sara: Also along the indie-pop line is the double-Grammy winners fun. mixing it up with twin sisters Tegan and Sara. This show takes place at Hudson River Park at Pier 26 on July 22 and 23, which means you can enjoy not only the energetic music, but also a killer view.
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake: On July 19 and 20, these old-school performers will be taking the stage together to showcase their latest collaboration on JT’s recent album, The 20/20 Experience. Catch them at Yankee Stadium and consider it a fair consolation prize to missing Jay-Z’s lady’s performance in August, which sadly sold out months ago.
Black Sabbath: What could be better than the (almost complete) reunion of the world’s greatest heavy metal band? Well on August 4 you can catch a fuller, healthier Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Just remember to wear black and get ready to rock.
State of the Union: The Roots with Jim James: Stars and stars will be had on June 18 at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park when My Morning Jacket’s Jim James teams up with the hip-hop group The Roots. You can get a sneak peek at what’s to come if you look up the Jimmy Fallon show they were recently on, and be prepared to get excited.
On May 18, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:In the land of power-lunching businessmen there are tons of quick, good and impressive meals to be had. One of the best deals can be found at Vic & Anthony’s in Gramercy Park. Here, for $26.95 you can get a three-course prix fixe with options including lobster bisque, Caesar salad, a 10-ounce sirloin au poivre and dessert. Not only do you get luxury at an affordable price, but with white linen and steakhouse service, it feels like a dressed-up lunch.
Nearby, you can also have get a hearty business lunch at L&W Oyster Co., where they not only have plenty of oysters to choose from, but also offer an “in and out in 30 minutes” menu with options including lobster rolls with a Caesar salad and crab cakes with gazpacho. The setting is more fish shack-like, in the best possible way, so it’s a great choice for co-worker business lunches or laidback meetings.
Oceana in Midtown also deals with seafood, though their set-up is more for people who aim to impress, both with their fine-dining setting and solid food. Choose items from their main menu, or go for their $35 prix fixe, which includes black bass tartare, salmon a la plancha, grilled calamari and strawberry-pineapple sorbet. Of course, if your business partner doesn’t like fish, suggest the steak. Chef Ben Pollinger prepares some of the best.
Finally, one of the places I like to go to for interviews and meetings is the Guilty Goose in the Flatiron area. The setup reminds me more of an upscale gastropub, and I like this space not only for their $15 burger and craft beer lunch deal, but for their quiet ambiance and unhurried service, which is perfect for talking and actually conducting business.
On May 14, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:Fashion is king in New York City, but so is comfort. After all, NYC is a walking town. So how do you pack for this mixed bag of style? The first step is choosing layers, that way, you can adjust for the heavy air conditioning, humidity, and make an outfit nightlife or fine dining ready.
For women, I suggest plenty of casual dresses that you can spruce up with the addition of a bauble, scarf, belt, or wrap. Bring comfortable, but stylish shoes like kitten heels, ballet flats, or those heels you know you can run down the street in. Of course, you can do what other women do and stuff a pair of slip-on-shoes or flip flops in your bag in case you need a comfort change.
For men it’s pretty simple too; just get a pair of nice, cool slacks, a button up shirt, and carry a sports coat or summer blazer with you. Stuff a tie in your pocket in case you go to a really nice restaurant, otherwise, paired with a good pair of casual business shoes, you can look sleek in any setting.
It’s also important to bring a bag or purse that you can wear on the shoulder, as you will not want to be clutching a purse while trying to navigate subways, cabs, or just walking down the street. Plus, if you do one of my favorite activities in NYC, shopping, you will need hands to carry your goods. Also pack an umbrella, preferably one that fits in your handbag as you never know when it might rain; and when it does, it tends to pour.
On May 13, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:To get real, authentic Indian food, you can head the three main areas in the city, Jackson Heights, Queens, Murray Hill (aka Curry Hill), or on 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in the East Village. In the former, you get solid curries, roti, lamb biryani, and other Indian specialties in no-nonsense, simple cafes and restaurants. The Little India area in the East Village tends to have Christmas lights strung across the ceiling, mirrors on the walls, and eager young men trying to pull you in. Then in Murray Hill, you get a lot of traditional southern Indian food and Eastern markets. All offer experiences worth checking out, though for dinner or lunch, the following three joints are my favorite.
1. Brick Lane Curry House: Located in Manhattan’s Little India, this restaurant is modeled after the curry shops in London, and compared to the other establishments on the strip, it proves a little more high-class. The specialty of the house is classic, England-style curry and kebabs, and they have plenty to choose from including butter masala, saag, nilgirl korma, and phaal, a very hot curry that, if you manage to finish, can get you on their wall-of-fame.
2. Junoon: In the heart of the Flatiron district is Junoon, a modern Indian restaurant that takes from cuisines all across the country. This includes dishes from the tandoor, or clay oven, tawa, or cast iron cookery, sigri, an open fire pit, and patthar, which is stone cooking. Check out their spice room to see just how many aspects go into Indian cooking, and to find out what wines pair best with curry and roti, as they have plenty of options on their well-curated list.
3. Saravana Bhavan: In India, you can find this mini-chain in all the major cities, and, lucky for us, they have branched out into the United States. Sometimes this means the food changes for a Western audience, but that’s not the case at their two New York locations (Curry Hill and the Upper East Side). Here, they serve the same vegetarian food as they do in Chennai and Delhi, including sweet coconut-chili chutney, vada, or lentil doughnuts, and idly, small steamed rice cakes usually in a sambar sauce. Though these vitals all prove excellent, the real gem of the restaurant is the dosa, a thin Indian-style pancake that gets griddled in ghee, and usually is larger than your head prior to being folded, rolled, or shaped into a cone. If anything, it’s fun to eat, but also not a dish you will find everywhere.
On May 9, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:No matter how successful online shopping is, nothing beats going to a good bookstore and actually touching noble and respected tomes. I love Housingworks Bookstore Café in SoHo. Here, they not only have a great selection of new and used books, but they also do advocacy work with the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS. Also in SoHo is McNally Jackson Books, and they have two bright and airy floors of books and a nice café, which help make browsing comfortable and relaxing.
In Brooklyn, at Greenlight Bookstore, they have a nicely curated selection including a section on Brooklyn-based authors. Plus, a few times a month this Fort Greene shops has lectures, book events, and readings. BookCourt is also in Brooklyn, and for over 30 years they have been providing the neighborhood with a solid community of readers. Plus, they have plenty of author signings and readings that help make it a destination book shop.
As far as specialty bookstores go, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in Greenwich Village features all, surprise, cookbooks, ancient and honorable ones. Kitchen Arts & Letters in the Upper East Side also focuses on foodie books, though they offer 13,000 titles on all manners of culinary subjects. Another fun place to go is The Mysterious Bookshop, which covers all your mystery-buff needs. For theater nerds the The Drama Book Shop has screenplays, tomes on technique, and events all in the world of acting, dancing, and performance.
Of course, we can’t forget comic books, and my favorite place to delve into this world is at Forbidden Planet. Not only do they have tons of graphic novels and comic books, but action figures, toys, and a lot of awesome, nerdy people who love it.
On May 8, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:Now that spring is finally here, there are a ton of great things to do outside. My favorite nice weather adventure is walking along The High Line, a park constructed on top of a defunct train track. Here, they have planted native trees, bushes, and flowers, and have plenty of places to park for a while and watch the world go by.
Another great outdoor activity to do right now is biking along the Hudson River. New York has just installed Citi Bike, a bike-share system that allows you to rent bicycles from various outposts and drop them off somewhere else. You could also take the bikes around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where they have bike kiosks and plenty of bike lanes around the beautiful park.
If you find yourself at Prospect Park, you might as well head to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, a beautiful space with rose gardens, great lawns, ponds full of turtles, and a beautiful Shakespeare Garden. The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is also lovely, and much bigger. Right now they have the Manolo Valdés sculpture exhibit, an edible garden, and soon, an exhibit on healing plants.
Nice weather also makes touring around the city a pleasant venture, and the Levy’s Unique New York tours are some of the best. Take the food tour through Manhattan, the Jewish Gangsters of the Lower East Side romp, or their punk rock walk, which takes you through the Bowery and Lower East Side and gives you a historical taste of the scene.
After all this outdoor excitement, it’s time to have a drink and bite to eat, which are some of the best outdoor activities you can do. Head to Crown Victorian Bar in Brooklyn, where they have a huge space outside, 24 craft beers on tap, and a kitchen serving up fried green tomato sandwiches, hamburgers, and fries.
On April 30, 2013Linnea Covington answered the question:With May comes the true start of spring, and weather wise, it's the best time to visit. Right now the days are warm, sunny, and around 60 to 70 degrees. Often during this time of year a light breeze wafts around, teasing skirts and mussing hair, but despite that, right now has the perfect temperature for taking a walk around town, or even better, across Central Park and along the Highline.
However, despite the lovely daytime weather, at night it still gets chilly. Not that the coolness is a bad thing, it's not freezing cold. More, you just don’t want to be gallivanting around without a light jacket or sweater. It’s also smart to carry an umbrella at this time, you never know when it will decide to rain.